Using Data and Metrics to Promote the Value of Advancement

Sylvia Galen & Jon Thorsen
AASP Regional Symposium
January 21, 2015
Starting out
• We work in a bottom-line business
• Demonstrating ROI is a continuous need
• Tying results to the bottom line is critical
• We can be removed from results
• Not tied directly to achievements
• Not controlling results
• This makes the challenge more difficult
• We have opportunities to improve processes
• Data-based decisions are better than the other kind
Assessing the Environment
• Best actors in a supporting
• Cost centers in an income
• Behind-the-scenes workers
in an out-front function
• Process-oriented thinkers in
a people-focused industry
Determining Relevant Metrics
The most common approach – counting activity
Number of visits
Dollars raised
Gifts closed
Profiles written
Requests fulfilled
Events held
• Message click-through
Determining Relevant Metrics
A better approach: Measuring outcomes
Number of visits – leading to new stage of relationship
Dollars raised – for priority needs
Gifts closed – as a % of rated capacity
Profiles written – supporting a solicitation
Requests fulfilled – leading to new prospect assignments
Events held – reflecting ROI
Alumni contacted\engaged – leading to new volunteer or
donor activity
• Message click-through rates – constituent interaction
(completing a call to action, responding to a survey, etc.)
Determining Relevant Metrics
An even better approach: Reporting on impact &
effectiveness, using “soft” data in addition to numbers
• Client satisfaction:
• Survey information on attitude, perceptions
• Hard numbers on turnaround time, deadlines
• Skills and competencies:
• How close is your team and each individual to meeting best
practice expectations?
• Are gaps being closed?
• Reliability and planning
• How successful are we in meeting stated goals?
• Are we staying loyal to our mission and values?
Soft Data Matters, Too
Not everything that can be counted
counts, and not everything that
counts can be counted.
- Albert Einstein
Planning Ahead
• What do we want to report?
• How will we measure these factors?
• Counting – pieces, time, dollars, prospects
• Linking – our office’s activity to others’ actions
• Assessing gaps – where we are vs. where we want
to be
• Tracking change and progress – processes
improved, new results achieved
• ROI – how our investments have paid back
Setting the Right Goals & Objectives
• Clear connection to the
• Ties to the divisional priorities
• A SMART approach:
Time Limited
Asking the Tough Questions
• What tasks take the
bulk of our time?
• Are they the right
• What clients demand
the bulk of our
• Are they right
• How will we track and
report progress?
How is our responsiveness
How’s the turnaround time?
How is the work used?
How is the quality of our work?
What we can change to
improve results?
What Messages Do We Want to Send?
• We need to build our systems to easily pull the data
we need to report progress toward goals
• Think ahead to the points we want to make and the
information we’ll need to demonstrate our points:
Increasing staff and budget
Changing structure or responsibilities
Implementing new processes\systems
Letting go of outdated processes\systems
• Data should be systemic, clear and consistent
• Ideally, it comes from the database of record
Ask for the Data We Want (Input) and
Need (Output)
Automated ticketing system for all departments:
• In Place:
• Bio Records, Events, Relationship Management,
Research, Technical Services
• In Progress:
• Gift Records, Memos of Understanding, Stewardship
• Allows reporting of Key Performance Indicators
Using KPIs: Example – DAR Digital
* Make a Gift *
Register for an Event
Log In to Access Services
Update Contact Information
Sign Up to Volunteer
Social Advocacy
Suggested measures for events
• Getting the chair of a department or other key academic
partner on board with the event to raise the visibility of the
• Professor installations – honoring the donor who made
the professorship possible, quantity/quality of the donor’s
network who was engaged at the event
• Number of Alumni engaged further – newly volunteering,
giving, attending more events
• Number of contact info updates
• Additional knowledge about interest areas of constituents
• Increasing volunteer\donor engagement (stage)
• Increasing gifts
Data for Evaluating Staff
• Evaluation tools
• Using skills sets to break
down areas for evaluation
• Establishing target
performance levels
• Cumulating the gaps
• Addressing the gaps
• Most useful when many people
share same or similar job
• Can also help define job paths
Data in the Strategic Planning Process
• Analysis (where are we now?)
Strengths and weaknesses
Opportunities, threats
• Setting direction (where do we want to be?)
• Action and Implications
• Evaluation
Data in the Planning Process
• Set goals
• Decide on strategies, objectives, action steps
• Assess the resource implications on each objective
Need more staff to implement?
Need to purchase more tools?
Effect on workload/hours?
Can’t answer these questions unless you know your data!
• Establish priorities – have a process in place
• Manage change
Sample: Project Prioritization Criteria
Data in Determining Progress – Outcomes
• What does success look like?
• How will we know we’ve achieved it?
• Applying SMART assessments:
• Specific
• Measurable
• Achievable
• Relevant
• Time Limited
Tying Results to the Bottom Line
Example: Reporting the Contributions of the
Research & Relationship Management Team to
GW’s Largest-ever Gift:
• 14 years from first document
• 15 RRM staff, including freelancers
• Starting in FY12: 1,780 approximate hours; 222 work
days; 44.5 work weeks
• 3 big gifts
• Donors who are positively impacting future
connections, cultivation, and solicitations across GW
Taking The Show on the Road
Share an annual report
Develop a dog-and-pony
show for standard staff
Incorporate the materials into
orientations for new staff and
key clients
Communicate in ways that will
reach our clients
• Get outside of our comfort
zones if necessary
Getting the Message Across
• Deliver meaning, not buzzwords
• Focus on results, not issues
• Apply the proper perspective
• Don’t focus on the provider (“Here’s all the cool
stuff we do”)
• Connect to the user (“Here’s how this helps you in
your work”)
• Remember the decision-makers
• Push information to the audience in ways that will be
absorbed and utilized
• Think (and talk) like the client
Talking Like Our Clients
• Know how the most vital information is shared
• Hint: it’s usually not the most common vehicle
• Use the appropriate methods and settings
• Get in people’s faces (in the good sense)
• Recruit advocates, testimonials, fans
In the Final Analysis…
• Metrics are even more important for activity that is
hard to count or comprehend
• Everyone likes to have clear goals and expectations
• Evaluation, performance management and
professional development are easier and more
effective with clear standards and measures
[email protected]
[email protected]
AASP Best Practices:

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